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Future projects, home & garden

The latest projects:

The master bathroom has long been the, well, ugliest room in the house. This fall (2012), we decided to do something about it.

A before picture of the bathroom

Front walk and beds -

We've finally gotten started doing some landscaping on our fairly large lot.

front gardens
For more on this project, click here.

The sound system in the house is often upgraded, thanks to my audiophile husband:


Julian built the center channel to match the Infinitesimals. If you click the picture above, you'll be able to see the process.

I thought we were pretty much done in the dining room, and then we found this vintage sideboard:


We've repainted Meghan's room and replaced the battered miniblinds with wide wooden blinds from Ikea. We were going to put bamboo flooring down in Meghan's and Kennon's rooms, but we got a chance to pick up some recycled oak flooring, so we went with that instead. The floor's finish is PolyWhey, from Vermont Natural Coatings, a low-volatility, renewable, green floor finish.

Here is Meghan's room before:

Meghan's room before remodeling

Meghan's room with the new floor down:

Meghan's floor after remodeling

Click here for more pictures of refinishing and installing the reclaimed oak flooring.

We just repainted Kennon's room (but forgot to take "before" pictures, darn it), and we've gotten the recycled oak flooring down in there, too. We need to get the new curtains hung, and both Meghan and Kennon's room need some artwork framed and hung.

And we were going to replace the doors from the hallway into the entrance hall and the family room with some doors from Feather River, but we found these recycled doors at the Charlotte ReStore, so Julian sanded the dark gray paint off them, stained them, and finished them:

New hall doors
This one is between the entrance hall and the hallway. There will be another one between the hallway and the family room, and the third will go between the dining room and the kitchen.

Hall floors and bookshelves:

The hallway now has the bamboo floor down (we got ours from this store in Charlotte), sconces installed, and the bookshelves up (although some molding remains to be added).

Hall sconces
The sconces are from Lighting Plaza.

We got the hardwood floors down and the copper ceilings up in the living room and dining room in time for Christmas 2007.

Floors & celings done for Christmas 2007
Living room, 2009.

The entrance hall:

entrance hall
The house started out with popcorn ceilings. We don't like popcorn ceilings, and we don't feel that they go with the furniture in the front rooms (an assortment of antiques). We found these copper-anodized aluminum ceilings online, and we have covered up the popcorn ceilings in the foyer, living room, and dining room with them. We've also put down ceramic tile in the entrance hall, and we have put hardwood floors down in the living room and dining room.

You can also get real copper ceiling panels, but they're more expensive, much heavier, and they tarnish over time. I can't see us polishing the ceilings, so the anodized version was the obvious choice. They also sell aluminum that looks like the old pressed-tin ceilings, but the copper is a much warmer look.

People keep asking us if we knew before we started how good the ceilings would look, I guess because (to mix my metalphors) it seems pretty brazen to put shiny copper-anodized aluminum up all over your ceilings. I have to say it looks even better than we hoped (the way it opens up the rooms and the way it scatters light are not things we knew would happen), but we knew we liked it from looking at pictures of model rooms.

We got the metal ceiling tiles for the front rooms from a company called M-boss, and we had a very good experience with them. However, we had no end of trouble getting the tiles for the bathroom from them, and got charged an exorbitant amount (and more than the original order called for) for shipping.

Looking into it, we found that since we first dealt with M-boss, they have managed to acquire an F from the Better Business Bureau. We will be getting the tiles for the rest of the house elsewhere, possibly from American Tin Ceilings.

We have also noticed that you can get pressed-metal celiings from places like Home Depot or Lowes, these days. However, I have to say that those ceilings look cheap, compared to what you can get if you look around online.

Living room 2009
The floor was a no-brainer. We love hardwood, and we don't like wall-to-wall carpeting. Again, though, the rooms look much larger and more open than we expected.

Julian and the floor
Nearly done with the floors . . .
December 2007

Earlier projects:

The workshop:

Work shop
One of our first priorities was getting a workshop built for Julian. His woodworking equipment is on the ground floor, and we use the second floor for storage. (With six kids between us, we figure we never know when one of them may need a spare bed or something.)

The fireplace: The house had the brick-fireplace-with-no-mantel that was typical of ranch houses of the era. (What were people thinking, anyway? Where exactly were you supposed to hang stockings?)

We decided that wallboard over the brick would lighten the place up a lot. We also wanted a mantel. For one thing, we had already found an antique mantel clock we liked. It didn't run, but we figured we could fix it.

After a year of looking, we finally found an antique mantel we liked. And the clock was apparently just waiting for a mantel: once we put it in place, it started running.

Here's how it looks now:

fireplace after remodeling

Here's how it looked before:

Fireplace - before


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Home is a '70's ranch house in a quiet suburban neighborhood in the Carolinas. We are busy personalizing it. From time to time we'll post photos here as we make progress.
© 2004 - 2016 Diane Rudulph & Julian Smith III
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